4 Years

What Most Children Do by This Age

Social and Emotional

  • Pretends to be something else during play (teacher, superhero, dog)
  • Asks to go play with children if there are none around, like “Can I play with Alex?”
  • Comforts others who are hurt or sad, like hugging a crying friend
  • Avoids danger, like not jumping from tall heights at the playground
  • Likes to be a “helper”
  • Changes behavior based on where she is (place of worship, library, playground)

Cognitive (Learning, Thinking, Problem Solving)

  • Names a few colors of items
  • Draws a person with three or more body parts

Language and Communication

  • Says sentences with four or more words
  • Says some words from a song, story, or nursery rhyme
  • Talks about at least one thing that happened during his day, like “I played soccer.”
  • Answers simple questions like “What is a coat for?” or “What is a crayon for?”

Movement and Physical Development

  • Catches a large ball most of the time
  • Serves himself food or pours water, with adult supervision
  • Unbuttons some buttons
  • Holds crayon or pencil between fingers and thumb (not a fist)

Tips and Activities: What You Can Do for Your 4 year old

As your child’s first teacher, you can help his or her learning and brain development. Try these simple tips and activities in a safe way. Talk with your child’s doctor and teachers if you have questions or for more ideas on how to help your child’s development.

  • Help your child be ready for new places and meeting new people. For example, you can read stories or role play (pretend play) to help him be comfortable.
  • Read with your child. Ask him what’s happening in the story and what he thinks might happen next.
  • Help your child learn about colors, shapes, and sizes. For example, ask the color, shapes, and size of things she sees during the day.

Developmental Milestones